EDIT: 1/11/09 - I've just found the Silverstone GD-04 which is only 323mm deep - Questions below about how much room is ok for cables etc... to stick out the back
I'm almost ready to order, but thought it was worth running it past all you knowledgeable people just to make sure I've not made any hideous mistakes. Apologies in advance if I've put too much detail in, but every time I do a thread like this the first few responses are just asking for more info.
It's a HTPC build. The budget is basically to do it as cheap as possible, but something that will last a reasonable length of time. It'll hopefully be the only box needed with my new LCD tv (32" samsung - Full HD resolution), so will have a dual DVB-T tuner for recording and PVR duty, and then stream media (mainly tv and some films) from my main pc (later a NAS/file server). I'll stick in an old DVD drive for now, but will later upgrade to blu-ray. Hopefully, it will be more than capable of iplayer, 4 on demand etc... even the HD versions. Mostly it'll be SD for now though.
I might do some very light gaming, but unlikely. I don't want the power drain of a discrete card, and let's face it, at full HD resolution integrated graphics probably won't cut it
Ok the line up so far is:
Case: Lian Li PC-V351A Aluminium Silver Cube Case No PSU £84.99 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/169883)
The case needs to fit in our cupboard type unit that we use as a tv stand, so the pc box can be no more than 34 cm deep (actually only 30cm to include room for cables sticking out), and only 29.5 cm high. I couldn't find any µATX cases that were less than 34cm deep, and didn't want to go down the mini-itx route. I then found this case that has the 5.25" slots on the side, so I can put it in sideways and have the dvd drive facing the front. Ok, so the cables stick out the side, but I think it's the best I can do.
CPU: Intel E3200 £35.90 (http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Pr...00-Retail--3yr - now out of stock )
I saw a review over on xbit-labs (http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu...0_8.html#sect0) that said even on full 100% load, the CPU itself only uses 20w. Apparently it mostly keeps up with the e5200 so seems ideal for a HTPC. The AMD 4850e and 5050e chips seem to have all disappeared. The other option is an Athlon II 240 or wait until the 235e/240e come out, supposedly to coincide with Win7's release next month. The AMD chips seem to use quite a bit more power on the reviews I've seen though, and not sure how much less juice the 'e' versions will use. Plus the Athlon II chips are more expensive, and presumably the 'e' version will have a price premium on top. Looking around, the AMD boards seem cheaper, so that will probably even out the increased CPU cost, but I still prefer the lower power intel chip.
Motherboard: Asus P5N7A-VM £83.00 (http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/39314 also now out of stock )
There seems little choice for HTPC on the intel side. The G45 seems better than the old Intel IGP, but when it was released it didn't seem quite polished and they don't seem to be much cheaper than the nvidia 9300 boards. On the other hand, the G45 boards seem more available, I'm not entirely sure why G45 would be worse for me. I don't have a massive 8 speaker sound system so 8 channel LPCM over HDMI is not an issue. I don't even know what LPCM is....
PSU: Be Quiet 350W Pure Power PSU - 80plus Certified £29.99 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166784)
As per the thread in the bargains section here Seems to be good for the money and more than adequate for the job, and as Be Quiet seem a decent brand, hopefully I'm not doing the classic "skimp on the PSU" trick. When it's all up and running and I can stick a power meter on it at boot up and load, I might try out a pico psu...
Ram: Crucial 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Memory Non-ECC Unbuffered CL6 Lifetime Warranty £29 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/139662)
I'll admit I just picked out the first half decent brand I saw. I might go for the 2x2gb version for £47 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/142403)
Remote: Gyration GYR3101EU Media Center Vista Remote Control £58 (http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?W...349&source=hx1)
Ahhhh.... now this is where I really would welcome comments. I've gone for this one as it's RF, so no line of sight needed which will work well if the cupboard door shuts accidentally. It also works as an air mouse based on movement so hopefully will cope with selecting stuff on iplayer, and finally has got a normal IR function and can learn, so should do the tv volume as well. So although pricey, I think it ticks a few boxes for me. The other option is the £85 (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gyrat...-Compact-Suite) one that comes bundled with a wireless keyboard.
HDD:: 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 £58 (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1TB-S...-89-ms-NCQ-OEM)
I think that's it - just shy of £300. I've got a copy of Win7 on order, and can use the technet subscription to install before that arrives if I don't wait for the Athlon 'e' chips. I will probably stick with media center to start with, before experimenting with other frontends
Any comments very gratefully received